On Thursday, a property insurance reform bill passed by the state legislature in a special session this week was presented to and signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. It was the last step in a process many Florida homeowners have been following closely.
Veronica Solomon is among them. When she spoke to NBC 6 at her Miramar home a few weeks earlier, she was worried about the long-term impact of rising homeowner’s insurance premiums. She said it was one of the reasons why she continued to work. She also said she was hoping to retire from her job as a 911 dispatcher in five years, but was not sure if that would be possible.
“If I go on a fixed income, I don’t know what that would look like,” she said.
Her latest insurance renewal included a $1,300 increase. The relief she was hoping to get from rising premiums, she said, did not come in this week’s special legislative session.
“There was no constituent protection,” she said. “I thought there would be a moratorium on rate increases. They’re already getting enough money from people like me.”
What lawmakers did pass in SB 2D included several roof-related provisions. Among them: allowing residential insurers to require a separate roof deductible that’s no more than 2% of the policy dwelling limits or 50% of roof replacement costs, whichever is less; homeowners with a roof deductible would get a premium credit or discount; allowing certain roofs that are more than 25% damaged to be repaired, instead of being required to be replaced; and prohibiting companies from refusing to write or renew policies on homes with roofs that are less than 15 years old solely because of the age of the roof or for roofs that are over 15 years old, if an inspection shows the roof has five or more years of useful life left. You can read more about the reforms here.
“If … you put a mandate on insurers to write business that they consider extreme risk, you run into problems,” said Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute.
Friedlander said some of the changes could lead to higher premiums, adding it is unclear if any of what was passed will bring stability to the market.
“Our initial assessment of the bills that were passed doesn’t show any opportunity to make this a more robust market,” he said. “The legislature did not address the root causes of our homeowner’s insurance crisis in Florida.”
Those causes, he said, are mainly fraudulent roofing claims and so-called frivolous lawsuits.
As for Veronica, she worries about the future.
“My pockets don’t run deep,” she said. “I’m just like everybody else. I work every day to rob Peter to pay Paul and right now I’m robbing Peter and Paul to pay Henry.”
She questions the motive behind the special session.
“I don’t need legalese to tell me that these people had this special session for show,” she said.
She also said she knows her angst over the cost of protecting her home is here to stay.
“My doctor may double up on my blood pressure medication when I go see her,” she said. “The third blood pressure pill is for the homeowner’s insurance, the other two are for my heart.”
To read a copy of the bill, click here.
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